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News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.

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Romney 21, Afghanistan 18, Libya 17, Syria 14, Us 12, Virginia 9, Vmi 7, Israel 6, United States 6, Karen 5, U.s. 5, China 4, Joe Biden 4, Iran 4, Egypt 4, Europe 4, Paul Ryan 4, Joel 3, Assad 3, George Marshall 3,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    October 8, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am PDT  

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leadership." his backdrop, the virginia military institute. romney expected to focus on a vision of peace through strength and lay out how to handle a people in syria, libya and egypt. >> he is taking a step bc and looking. this is the world we live in. the president talks about a pivot to asia. the middle east is really unsettling, unraveling and let's take a look at how we got here and where we go from here. >> the address will draw what his campaign calls great contrast with president obama. the president's team already firing back with a new add titled simply "policy." >> reckless. amateurish. that's what news immediate why and fellow republicans called mitt romney's gaffe-filled july tour of england, israel and poland. when our u.s. diplomats were attacked, "the new york times" said romney's knee jerk response showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character. >> let's dig deeper. joining me now is nbc news
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correspondent peter alexander. good morning to you. explain to us the importance and the backdrop of the speech today for team romney. >> reporter: yeah, thomas. as you know, this is not the first time spoken about foreign policy issues but the timing is critical now after the strong debate performance and the final month the campaign says they believe what the independent eyeballs focusing on this. as you noted, trying to demonstrate that peace through strength and effectively accuse the president of being a weak leader who has been bad for the military of this country. among some of the comments are the following. i know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous middle east allied with the united states. i share that hope but hope is not a strategy. there will also be familiar themes that we expect to hear here. the significance of avoiding defense cuts, specifically referring to sequestration and could affect tens of thousands of people here in virginia specifically. the need to reinvest in the
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military and the significance of working closely with america's allies. a lot of these contrasts rhetorical more than actual contrasts and witness. he's been vague as some noticed about policy differences with the president but one place where he'll show a difference is on syria. more activist public position and suggesting that the rebels in that country's civil war to be armed and attack the president effectively prosecuting the terrorist attack as he'll describe it that led the death of four americans at the consulate there and libya and say among other things the attack on the consulate in benghazi was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on september 11th, one. he'll draw that link between that attack and al qaeda. thomas? >> nbc's peter alexander traveling with the romney campaign there in virginia, thank you so much. >> joining me today, a super sized edition.
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lock at this. analyst karen finney and columnist for the hill. contributor and republican strategist susan del perzio. bobby goesh. former state department officer joel rubin and former u.s. ambassador to morocco and former white house middle east adviser. good to have you all assembled this morning. karen, the obama campaign released a prebuttal to the expected speech of romney and saying we won't be lectured by someone who's been an inmitigated disaster on foreign policy every time he dipped his toe in the foreign policy area. that's coming from jen psaki. a zinger there. recent polls show that romney closing the gap. should it be a wake-up call for the president, the campaign that mitt romney thinks that the
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fight over foreign policy is one he's willing to take on? >> you know, i think we'll have to wait and see what governor romney says before we determine that. foreign policy, there's a lot to say that sounds great in rhetoric and platitudes and hearing plenty of governor romney and really about the approach and the policy and just in the previews i have heard a lot of the rhetoric is a little bit different but the underlying policies are very similar. i mean, the kinds of things i think the governor will recommend sound like things that are already happening and continuously hearing governor talk he doesn't seem to understand or speak to, you know, with china. it is not just currency manipulation and trade to worry about or deal with china on. it's also china involved in what's happening in the middle east. they're involved in other parts of the world so these relationships are very -- they're multilayered and they affect policy in many different places so i don't think we'll
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hear that level of detail of governor romney and the president just fine. >> susan, talk about the rhetoric that karen brings up. foreign policy certainly fair game topics of three debates. the vice presidential, two remaining presidential debates. when's the strategy behind today's speech from mitt romney? is he laying a pillar, a foundation of his campaign that may have been tampered with especially as jen brings up going overseas and kind of offended the relationship with british? >> well, the statement of the president's team is very disturbing i think because it's really beyond the pale. you don't go that far before you hear the speech. people don't want to hear that kind of discussion right now. they want to hear about substantive issues and therein i agree with karen and up to governor romney to deliver that but this is a great time politically for the governor to have this speech. he's had a great debate. the speech when the president, there's an opening to attack the
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president on foreign policy. he's still hurt on the benghazi issue. there's room for him to grow there so that's also very important. >> joel, let's get in to that as susan brings up about benghazi. a topic americans want the know more about and the language today on libya is strongest yet heard on that topic. the governor expected to say in the early excerpts as the administration has finally conceded the attacks with a deliberate work of terrorists to impose the dark ideology on others and women and girls fighting to control much of the at least today and who speak to wage war on the west. certainly a lot of new questions, joel, about the administration's response, the current investigation in to that attack in libya and ambassador stevens killed and three other americans and someone that worked in the state department and knew the ambassador, do you think that the administration dropped the ball? >> the speech today is certainly going to highlight this but the
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administration is not dropping the ball. they have been coming out with information as they have learned it about the libya attacks and the danger today is con inflation of rhetoric and attacks could paint governor romney in to a position of scare mong mongering. this is a person in 2007 saying he would not go after bin laden if he had actionable intelligence and president obama got bin laden. the lynn yann incident is dangerous and the state department has to take care of the future in terms of its ambassador's safety and security and looking in to it. but to politicize it in such a way and platform could be undermining to that process. >> one area of concern is syria. ambassador ginsburg, i want your take on what governor romney is expected to say, specifically saying in syria, i'll work with the partners to identify and organize the members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat assad's
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tanks, helicopters and fighter jets. nbc's first read pointing out that reports of cia doing something covertly like this in syria. so something going on as we speak. the u.s. government did this with libya. basically arming the opposition. and you know, your men ri's men ri is only my friend for so long. is that a wise approach? >> no. i have spent time on this issue. there's no doubt providing nonlethal communication support is extraordinary important and secretary clinton announced massive amount of humanitarian assistance and ku dos to the administration for doing that. the real problem here is that there's this struggle within the romney campaign itself over syria between neo-conservatives to militarily intervene and those who actually are more reticent and the problem is that mr. romney flip flops between
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one group and the other and can't quite decide which one is more important. the bottom line, however, for purposes of american interest in the middle east, arming a rag tag group of rebels at this point in time is inconsistent with understanding when's going to emerge of syria in the long run. one of the reasons why i'm reticent is because we don't really know who the rebels are. some of them are affiliates of al qaeda. some of them funded by saudi clerics. some of them indeed very good guys and deserve support but very much an open question of who would get the arms. we don't want to repeat afghanistan back when congressman charlie wilson was doing that very same thing and it was 0 is a many bin laden who benefit benefited. >> general, i want your take on mitt romney saying about strengthening the u.s. sanctions currently against iran saying i'll put the leaders of iran on notice that the united states and our friends and allies will
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prevent them and tighten the sanctions we currently have. we have some of toughest sanctions yet on iran. the toughest in history under the obama administration. so, what could a romney presidency do differently than what we have witnessed? >> well, you know, there's a good argument that much of this will be political rhetoric. it clearly no one thinks that employing convention power against iranian nuclear facilities is a way to move forward. nobody want it is israelis to attack with conventional military power at this time. and by the way, i think the iranians are going nuclear regardless of the stranglehold on them. governor romney's in a tenuous position. he won't want to provide a clear alternative. the american people won't vote for a war. >> all right. so one thing i think a lot of people will remember if they've seen the now infamous secret tape. 47% remark in florida where mitt
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romney did discuss the current situation in the middle east and the wording he used in reference to that saying, we just have to live with certain things that are going on there. the cycle of violence that we have been seeing. now calling for beginning anew. kind of an etch-a-sketch moment for the foreign policy initiative, the leadership to cast the vision, that is. is this a flip flop on a global stage? >> this is a different audience. that was an audience of people to give him money. this is a political speech as the general just said and political rhetoric. foreign policy and election, only thing to try to get out of it is to try to be more tough than the other guy. showing a more sophisticated understanding of foreign policy is not going to bring in more votes so romney wants to look tougher. only place to look tougher is on syria and therefore the headline to come out of the speech. romney promising arms to the rebels. we'll hear whether he talked it through, whether it's a strategy of how to figure out which
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rebels to give the arms to and what he is trying to do, trying to appear tougher than obama. >> just minutes away. showing some of the ka deads filing in and filling up. mitt romney supposed to address the crowd starting at 11:20. i'll ask the power panel to hang on. we'll be back right here on msnbc right after this.
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everybody showing you live pictures in virginia. mitt romney, the republican presidential candidate expected to give a major foreign policy speech coming up in less than five minutes now. the 30-minute address will be his tenth speech on foreign policy in the last year and a half. i want to bring back the super
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sized political panel. so bobby, let's start with you this time around. governor romney heavily criticized for failing to address afghanistan in the convention speech, talking about the rnc. how's he make up for that today? >> well, there's not a lot to say about afghanistan. the circumstances on the ground don't allow a great degree of flexibility. i think he'll suggest in the early release of the speeches to suggest there's a little bit of room to maneuver on the exit date. i don't think that's necessarily true. the military begun really the process. whether they stay on for a few more months is really too small -- the difference is too small to make any long-term difference on the ground in afghanistan. the situation in afghanistan, he hasn't in the past year and a half suggesting he knows a different way the move forward
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there. i think we'll hear rhetoric but nothing substantive. >> general, this is an election where neither of the candidates have a military background going in. president obama established a foreign policy record under his presidency and seen over the generations democrats seen as the mommy party with the military. the republicans the daddy party. is this mitt romney's chance to assert himself in that capacity to carry what has always been under the republican party a strong american military defense message? >> well, probably not. you know, after going back to mr. ghosh's statement, afghanistan trying to appear muscular in the national security policy recommendation dealing with pakistan or afghanistan's a loser. the american people aren't there. two thirds of them don't support it. the karzai government's a
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disaster. when you look at policy, tends to be a series of bad options. and right now, the obama team, secretary clinton coming out of afghanistan, that's probably the only option we're playing out. it may end badly but it's hard to imagine he wants to run and maybe win and have to be forward in his policy on afghanistan. >> as you say, series of bad choices lie ahead. there's a point of excerpts released from mitt romney's address saying almost every -- every policy calling for tough sanctions on iran and withdrawal and two-state solution of the israelis and palestinians and going after the terrorists in libya, has been pursued by the obama administration. what are the big differences that can be provided today? >> absolutely nothing. in fact, as i read the excerpts of the speech, to me it was like where's the beef? there's no beef there in this message. in fact, there are people who wrote -- wrote on "the new york
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times" op-ed page, a republican foreign policy operative said there's no foreign policy policy in the speech today. it's a series of trying to use rhetoric to create differences that do not exist. the president has made a major effort on palestinian-israeli negotiations. clearly the efforts in libya ultimately have to be resolved based on a libyan government that has to in effect revolve the problems it faces and number three, with respect to the middle east generally, all of us who work in the middle east are having a hard time whether you're republican or democrat for a magic bullet on how you basically take all of these arab awakenings and strategize that in to american interest in the long run. it's an extraordinarily difficult problem. >> mitt romney supposed to take the stage at 11:20. we'll see if they run a strict ship on military time at vmi. let's get your take on an opportunity to look presidential
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like in the debate. >> that's absolutely the case and important he look at it that way with foreign policy so this just matches him perfectly after a strong debate performance. then having the vice president debates and then going on to the second and third debates. it really works out well. he has to show he has these credentials. i find it ironic democrats say there's not much difference in the policies but they're the first striking out against romney so they have to be careful on the line they walk there. >> susan, or excuse me, karen, as you hear susan saying, what are your ears perked up for today? >> we'll be listening and there's a lot of rhetoric and the ambassador saying from a number of things to talk about are things that this administration is already doing but here's the other thing. part of romney's problem has been he doesn't recognize the power of words. when you are a leader, the words matter. that's why he upset the spanish just last week in the debate and had a terrible trip overseas
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because he really didn't understand and couldn't relate to how important what he was saying was, where he was and what was the message he was trying to deliver back home. the key thing to say, though, for governor romney and goes to something the general was talking about, we're war weary in this country. he may try to sound muscular and tough but america said we don't want saber rattling but engage differently in the world with president obama and i think what i'll listen for and the democrats listen for and the american people to listen for what's the cost of these ideas that he may -- this rhetoric to throw out? how many american troops is that? how much money to cost the country, not spent here at home. how many lives are we talking about? are we prepared to make those sacrifices for a foreign policy that mitt romney may or may not propose? >> joel, from your state perspective, karen talking about words do matter srks that a big part of today's foreign policy address, avoiding land mines,
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pitfalls in his wording? >> words do matter and the international community is confused by governor romney and the foreign policy. the shifting back and forth on issues such as libya, to egypt. very confusing for foreign leaders to gauge where he is and the american people also will want to hear about veterans in this speech unlike the republican convention and understand where will the $2 trillion in extra defense spending come from? >> general, isn't that a big distinction, too? because what's being done for our vets comes from a different budget than what's spent for defense. >> well, i think there's normally a view to support the veterans administration, secretary shinseki's concerns of ptsd and reintegrating the afghanistan and iraq veterans. the big question for romney is upping naval ship construction dramatically, restoring the cuts
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proposed by the obama team, marine and army ground combat power how do you pay for it? what aren't you going to do in some other part of the budget? listen for that. is there a concrete proposal on resources to fund any national security strategy? >> susan, have you heard anything concrete about that yet? >> i think that's what the speech is supposed to be about and important and heard what karen said and the others. he does have to offer some specifics. that's been one thing whether on the economic policy or the foreign policy. that he's been criticized for. not offering up more specifics. i think and hope to see this in a few moments. >> bobby, how much do you think that plays in the debate thursday night? this is setting the stage for the week and something to talk about and covering through the week and a combo topic of domestic and foreign policy for the vice presidential candidates. >> joe biden has a clear advantage and stuff of decades.
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this is in his wheelhouse. this is not ryan's strength at all. there will be an attempt with this speech to take some of the oxygen out of joe biden's -- if at all possible but it's a tough act because joe biden knows the stuff. he can rattle off the names and phone numbers of world leaders and -- >> he just may. >> he just may. he's folksy enough to do it. we'll take a quick break right here. waiting and watching for mitt romney from the vmi. quick break. we're back right after this. time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. a fashion marketplace that helps local boutique that is don't have a site sell online. she knows content sells so she also lodged a companion online magazine as an ultimate source for what's in. for more watch "your business" sunday mornings on msnbc. i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th,
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call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now -- and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. welcome back, everybody. the -- excuse me. the program is under way now at vmi. we're looking and waiting for mitt romney to come out to give his major foreign policy address today. governor macdonald of virginia is addressing the cadets there in lexington, virginia, and then mitt romney is going to be giving his address to the crowd there. i want to bring back the
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political power panel. it's great to have you all stick with me as i thought mitt romney was going to be taking to the podium at 11:20. you're with me. in this together, okay? >> absolutely, thomas. >> we're here for you. >> we are in the foxhole together. >> more coffee. >> exactly. karen, let me talk to you about the fact that the obama team, jen psaki and comparing the fact that mitt romney's the guy that kind of bumbling around through europe and chevy chase did a better job. susan talked about the fact that's way to come out. do you think that language is too salty? >> no, of course not! this is an election! are you kidding me? for the presidency of the united states of america and those are significant errors that governor romney made. pointing that out and pointing out not only in the prebuttal sort of substantive points made
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as well as, you know, the points about the gaffes which, again, goes back to something i was saying before. words matter. i mean, when you say russia is a geo political foe and forget about iran, that matters. seeking to be the president of united states of america it should not be too much to ask that you, i don't know, don't go to england and upset the british. that seems basic stuff. >> general, as we're a war weary nation and we have taken on the charge of what we have seen through iraq and afghanistan, juggling a lot of other foreign policy issues over the last 12 years, the tone that mitt romney strikes today, he needs to walk that fine balance and not sound warmongering as a lot of people reflected upon what the rnc, what the convention sounded like for certain speakers. >> well, exactly. you know, i think the country is looking toward the future and
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concentrating on economic concerns, getting people back to work. i think the notion of the pivot which president obama's talked about the pivot to the pacific has been generally thought of as the way forward and the coming 20 years so it's hard to see where governor romney ends up on providing new alternatives. one thing sort of surprised me why hasn't he played general eisenhower, vote for me, i'll end the war in afghanistan as opposed to korea? so the notion that an aggressive approach to the war in afghanistan i think is weakest thought of all. >> certainly the message that they're trying to evoke today is peace through strength. there's governor bob mcdonald speaking before mitt romney. one thing to check in on is how the others on the ticket are doing and more developing news to discuss with vice presidential nominee paul ryan to talk to voters in the
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northwestern ohio town of swanton. it's swing for the republican ticket looking to make gains in the all-important battleground state of ohio and point out early voting is under way. ron motte joins me now from telephone. what are we expecting today? >> reporter: there, thomas. probably a few minutes from getting started here. we were just at the airport here in the toledo area. obviously, ohio's an important state to the romney-ryan ticket. we expect paul ryan to stick to the standard substance with the five-point plan to put the middle class back to work and also going by the performance last week of governor romney. particular has a couple of events. one here in the at least area and then we're heading off to the detroit area for an afternoon event and don't expect to see him until thursday and sets up the debate against vice president biden and the past couple of days we asked how much is he prepared to meet someone
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with more experience. he says he knows that vice president biden will come in aggressively and maybe particularly because of the president's performance last wednesday's event in denver and he is reading briefing books, talking about issues around the country and around the world. paul ryan knows that this is a very big week for him. perhaps the biggest of his entire political career. people need to see the american voters watching that debate on thursday and see him in the vice presidential light and probably not enough for him to be less aggressive perhaps against joe biden and going to come out and really hit him hard and on the reform plan for medicare so he knows he's got a tall order ahead of him and feels good especially in wisconsin where poll numbers beginning to tighten a bit and believe that wisconsin's in play. they would love to win that state and ohio's probably more important. >> both sides aggressively campaigning for the vote there
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in ohio. ron mott traveling with the vice presidential candidate paul ryan. thank you so much. just to point out it's really important distinction to point out as ron was saying this week up to the vice presidential debate at center college in kentucky on thursday night. we're going to take a quick break as we're watching presidential candidate mitt romney waiting to take the microphone there after governor bob mcdonald at the vmi. we're back right after this. and even fewer that make moms happy too. with wholesome noodles and bite sized chicken, nothing brings you together like chicken noodle soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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welcome back, everybody. want to take you straight to vmi where mitt romney is now addressing the crowd. >> showing here in virginia what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy. thank you also to congressman goodlot for joining us today. and particular thanks to general pete. i appreciate his invitation to be with you today at the virginia military institute. it's a privilege to be at an institution like this. it's done so much for our nation, both in times of war and in times of peace. for more than 170 years, vmi has done more than educate students. it's guided their transformation in to citizens, warriors and leaders. vmi graduates served with honor in the nation's defense just as many are doing today in afghanistan and other lands. and since september 11th attacks many of the sons and daughters
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of vmi defended america and mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. i join you in praying for the many vmi graduates right now serving in harm's way. may glod bleod bless all who ha served and who all serve. george marshal, the chief of staff of the army became secretary of state and secretary of defense, who helped vanquish fascist and then planned europe's rescue of depair. it was of the awful costs and consequences of war. general marshall once said, quote, the only human beings can win a war is to prevent it. those words were true in his time and they are true in our time. last month, our nation was attacked again. u.s. ambassador and three of our
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fellow americans are dead, murdered in benghazi, libya. among the dead are three veterans, all of them fine men on a mission of peace and trip to a nation that clearly longs for both. president obama has said that ambassador chris stevens and colleagues represented the best of america. and he's right. we all mourn their loss. the attacks against us in libya were not an isolated incident. they were accompanied by anti-american riots and nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the middle east but also in africa and asia. our embassies have been attacked. our flag has been burned. many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs shouting death to america. they hoisted the black banner of islamic extremism over american embassies on the anniversary of 9/11. as the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, americans are asking how this happened.
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how the threats we face have grown worse and what this calls on america to do. these are the right questions. i've come here to offer a larger perspective on the tragic recent events and to share with you and to share with all americans my vision for a freer, more prosperous and more peaceful world. the attacks on america last month should not be seen as random acts. they're expressions of a larger struggle playing out across the broader middle east. and the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in benghazi, itself. the attack on the consulate there on september 11th, 2012, was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on september 11th, 2001. this latest assault can't be blamed on a reprehencible video
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insulting islam despite the administration's attempts. no, as the administration has finally concede, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists. they use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially on women and girls. who are fighting to control much of the middle east today. and who seek to wage war on the west. we saw all of this in mbenbengh last month and we saw something else. something hopeful. after the attack on our consulate, tens of thousands of libyans most of them young people held a massive protest in benghazi against the very extremists who had murdered our people. they waved signs that read "the ambassador was libya's friend." and "libya is sorry." they chanted "no to militias, no to militias." they marched unarmed to the terrorist compound and then
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burned it to the ground. as one libyan woman said, we are not going to go from darkness to darkness. this is a struggle that's now shaken the entire middle east. it's the struggle of millions and millions of people men and women young and old muslims, christians and nonbelievers all of whom have had enough of the darkness. it's a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom and opportunity and the right to live under laws of our own making. it's a struggle that's been unfolded under green banners in the streets of iran, in the public squares of tunisia and egypt and yemen and in the fights for liberty in iraq and afghanistan and libya. and now in syria. in short, it's a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despa despair. we've seen this struggle before. it is familiar to general george
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marshall. in his time, actions of world war was torn between democracy and despotism. we had leaders of courage and vision, both republicans and democrats, who knew that america had to support friends who shared our values and prevent today's crisis of tomorrow's conflicts. statesmen like marshall rallied the nation to rise to the responsibilities as the leader of the free world. we helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. we defended the friends and ourselves from our common enemies. we led. we led and though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century. this is what makes america exceptional. it is not only the character of our country, it is also the record of our accomplishments. america has a proud history of
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strong, confident, principled global leadership, a history that's been written by patriots of both parties. this is america at its best and it is the standard by which we measure every president as well as anyone who wishes to be president. unfortunately, this president's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership. and nowhere is this more evident than in the middle east. i want to be very clear. the blame for the murder of our people in libya and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries lies solely with those who carried them out. no one else. but it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind. leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. unfortunately, that's exactly where we find ourselves in the middle east under president obama. the relationship between the president of the united states
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and the prime minister of israel, for example, our closest ally in the region has suffered great strains. the president exples sitly stated that the goal was to put daylight between the united states and israel. and he succeeded. this is a dangerous situation that is set back the hope of peace in the middle east and emboldened the mutual adversaries, especially iran. iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability. it's never posed a greater danger to hour friends, our allies and us. and it's never acted less deterred by america as was made clear last year when agents plotted to assassinate the saudi leader in our naegs's capital and when millions of iranian's took to the streets in june 2009 and demanded freedom of a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out are you with us or are you with them, the
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american president was silent. across the greater middle east as the joy born from the downfall of dictators given way to the pain staking work of building capability security forces and growing economies and developing effective democratic institutions, the president has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need. in iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence of resur gent al qaeda, the weakening of deknock sy in baghdad and the rising influence of iran and yet america's ability to influence events for the better in iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. the president's tried. he tried but he also failed to secure a responsible and gradual draw down to better cure the gains. the president also failed to lead in syria where more than
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30,000 men, women and children have been massacred by the assad regime over 20 months. violent extremists are flowing in to the fight. ally turkey has been attacked. and the conflict threatens stability in the region. america can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al qaeda and pakistan and afghanistan, including the killing of osama bin laden. these are real achievements won at a high cost. al qaeda is a strong force in yemen, somalia and north africa, in iraq and now syria and other extremists gained ground across the region. drones and modern instruments of war are important tools in the fight but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the middle east. the president is fond of saying
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that the tide of war is receding and i want to believe him as much as anyone else but when we look at the at least today with iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in syria threatening to destabilize the region and with violent extremists on the march and with an american ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al qaeda affiliates, it's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office. i know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous middle east aligned with us. i share this hope. but hope is not a strategy. we can't support our friends and defeat enemies in the middle east when our words are not backed up by deeds. when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeper cut, no trade agenda to speak of and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership but of passivity. the greater tragedy is missing a
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historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the middle east. friends who are fighting for their own few chers against the violent extremists and angry mobs that seek to harm us. unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our president is indifferent in their quest for freedom and dignity. as one syrian woman put it. we will not forget that you forgot about us. it's time to change course in the middle east. that course should be original niced around the principles, america must have confidence in our cause. clarity in our purpose. and resolve in our might. no friend of america will question our commitment to support them. no enemy that attacks america will question our resolve to defeat them. and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt america's capability to back up our words. i'll put the leaders of iran on
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notice that the united states and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on iran and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. i'll restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier attach forces in the eastern mediterranean and the gulf. and i'll work with israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. for the sake of peace, we must make clear to iran through actions not just words that nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated. i'll reaffirm historic ties to israel abiding commitment to security. the world must never see any daylight between our two nations. i'll deepen our critical cooperation with the partners in the gulf and roll back president obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to the national defense that would devastate our military. i'll make the critical defense investments that we need to
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remain secure. the decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect america tomorrow. the first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war. the size of our navy is at navy levels not seen since 1916. i will restore the navy to the size needed for our missions by building ships per year including submarines. i will implement defenses to protect against threats. on this, there will be no flexibility with vladimir putin. i will call on our nato allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2% of their gdp to security spending. today only 3 of 28 nato nations meet this benchmark. i will make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, for free enterprise and greater
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trade in the middle east and beyond. i will organize all assistance efforts in the greater middle east under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and produce results. i will rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs and i will make it clear to recipients of our aid that in return for material support they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government to respect the rights of all their citizens, including women and minorities. to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties and an independent judiciary. and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and property. i will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element as our strategy in the middle
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east and across the world. the president hasn't signed one new free trade agreement in the last four years. i will reverse that failure. i will work with nations around the world committed to the principles of free kper priente. i will increase friends who share our values but need help defending. and libya, i will support the libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them. i will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in benghazi and killed our fellow americans. in egypt, i will use our influence, including clear conditions on our aid to urge the new government to represent all egyptians, to build democratic institutions and maintain the peace treaty with israel. we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar
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stipulations on their aid. in syria i will work to identify and organize members of the opposition who share our values and then ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. iran is sending arms to assad because his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. we should be working through our international partners to support the many syrians who would deliver that defeat to iran rather than sitting on the sidelines. it's essential we develop influence with those forces in syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the middle east. in afghanistan, i will pursue a real successful transition to afghan security forces by the end of 2014. president obama would have you believe anyone who disagrees with the decisions in afghanistan is arguing for endless war. but the route to war and to potential attacks at home is a
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politically timed retreat that abandons the afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. i will look at conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of military commanders and affirm that my duty isn't to protect my political prospects but to protect the security of the nation. finally, i will recommit america to the goal of a prosperous palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with israel. on this vital issue the president has failed. what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the u.n. in this old conflict as in every challenge we face in the middle east, only a new president will bring the chance to begin anew. there is a longing for american leadership in the middle east. it's not unique to that region.
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it's broadly felt by america's friends and allies in other parts of the world as well. in europe, where putin's russia casts a long shadow over young democracies and where our oldest allies have been told per pivoting away from them. in asia and across the pacific where china's assertiveness is sending chills throughout the region and in our hemisphere where neighbors in latin america want to resist hugo chavez, the castro brothers and deepen ties with the united states on trade, energy and security. but in all of these places just as in the middle east the question is asked, where does america stand. i know many americans are asking, why us? i know many americans are asking whether our country today with our ailing economy and massive debt and after 11 years of war is still capable of leading.
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i believe that if america doesn't lead others will. others who don't share our interests and our values and the world would grow darker for our friends and for us. america's security in the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. i'm running for president because i believe the leader of the free world has a duty to our citizens and to our friends everywhere to use america's great influence wise ly without false pride and also to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict and make the world better -- not perfect, but better. our friends and allies across the globe don't want less american leadership. they want more. more of our moral support. more of our trade, more of your security cooperation, more
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assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. so many people across the world will look to america as the best hope of human kind. so many people still have faith in america. we must uh show them we still have faith in ourselves, that we have the will and wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power and lead the course of human events. sir winston churchill once said of george marshall, he always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement and disillusion. that's the roll our friends want america to play again it's the roll role we must play. the 21st century can and must be
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an american century. it began with terror, war, economic clamalamitcalamity. it is our duty to spear it to freedom, peace and prosperity. the torch america carries is one of decency and hope. it's not america's torch alone but it is america's duty and honor to hold it high enough that the world can see its light. thank you so much for your participation in this great charge. god bless you and god bless the united states of america. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you all very much. that will wrap up the hour for me. we toss it to alex wagner for now who will have post speech analysis. hi, alex. >> thanks, thomas. that was republican presidential nominee governor romney speaking at the virginia military institute outlining foreign policy. has he pivoted from national lampoon's european vacation to a role in "the hunt for red october"? it's monday, october 8 and this
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is now. joining me today, megan mccartell from newsweek and the daily beast, vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com richard wolf, and from washington, pulitzer prize winning correspondent for the huffington post david wood and susan glasser. mitt romney wrapped up what the campaign billed as a major foreign policy speech with a grandiose title "the mantle of leadership." he compared peace through strength to that of truman, reagan and george marshall. he criticized president obama for chris stevens in failing to prevent the attack and the response. >> i want to be clear. the blame for the murder of our people in libya and attacks on embassies in other countries lies solely with those who